With a repertoire
hundreds of songs long, mostly bogarted
from other featherbeds,
(mock, yeah, -ing, yeah)—
as you plagiarize music from lesser songsters,
some people think you’re twenty other birds,
you, my constant yardbird companion,
the most loquacious of creatures
king of harassing selfish bullies,
the loneliest of bellowing bachelors,
master of many colored personalities
tempting ladies who want
to buy me a mockingbird,
“and if that mocking bird don’t sing”
(for a proper mocker, no such thing)
“she gonna buy me a diamond ring.”
Look both ways in music and life.
Mind the gaps in the birds’ nests in the backyard bushes.
Certainly, one of the (if not THE) most famous of married couple duets, Mockingbird sung by Carly Simon and James Taylor. Mockingbird Lyrics & Music were originally by Inez & Charlie Foxx (Added lyrics by James Taylor).
As we slip into the final third of January in the year twenty twenty-three, the queen of Wednesdays’ Rhapsody and Friday Fictioneering, Rochelle, has joined forces with one of New York’s finest writers, Na’ama Yehuda, to challenge my (and your) muse’s imagination.
They say the average speaking pace is about one-hundred words per minute. So…
Therefore, you can do this today in a New York minute by composing your own story of no more than 100 words, but as few as you like. Hang out here, but then scoot on over to Rochelle’s place, just past the pink laundromat, to clean up on all the how’s and whatnots. Just click on Na’ama’s pic and BAM! You’re there.
Genre: Bohemian Fiction
Title: Sundown Ecstasy
Word Count: 100
There was a secret room hidden behind the clothes hanging in her closet. It’s where she went to do things she would never confess—her happy place, an escape from reality. She hid things there: old toys, memories, and sad things. Some day they would find more in her room.
One day, caught in a landslide, she’d had enough of his abuse.
She told them he had washed his clothes, packed, and then left with his gun and girlfriend in his old pick-up truck.
She was happy to know that he was now in a better place. So was she.
Look both ways for thunderbolts and lightning—very, very frightening.
Mind the gaps and ask, “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?”
And if you have not figure it out —- but this is a cute family (The Petersens) with a different vibe.
During the year twenty-twenty-two, the lovely and wonderful Rochelle has tempted and challenged all comers with photographic inspiration. Every week, she boosted me to the writing of a one-hundred-word story. This is my fifty-second story this year: 5,200 words that might have been a brief short story, but each is a micro fictional attempt to swing fanatically for the fences.
This year’s finale provides us with one of Rochelle’s personal pictures from which we are to connect the dots and write a complete story with fewer words than compose the average parrot’s vocabulary: no more than 100.
Join the fun by clicking on the photo for a quick taxi ride over to Rochelle’s blog. There you can find all you need to know to play along. Post your story with the others on the inlinkz app.
Genre: Musical Fiction
Word count: 100
I was enjoying the view, sitting in the Little Lemon Coffee Shop, a bistro (ish) phenom in our city library, when I heard three electronic beeps.
The doors opened. Someone said her name. I saw her floating toward me with that hypnotizing, toothy, Cheshire cat smile.
I lifted my sax and played my feelings. We were in heaven. I felt privileged in the presence of musical royalty.
Then I heard three more beeps, and she sang, “Double shot Americano and cinnamon croissant, for Mister Bill.”
I thought, Death is calling me but I’m not leaving this dream before she does.
Look both ways for the music of a lifetime.
Mind the gaps and cap the lies.
We all have our story to tell.
The eight-day Jewish festival, which began at nightfall yesterday, is also known as the festival of lights, or the Feast of Dedication. It commemorates the recovery of Jerusalem and rededication of the Second Temple at the beginning of the Maccabean revolt.
As a child growing up in a relatively “strict” Roman Catholic family, I recall all the “Christmas” cards we received during December. Mom used them to decorate our home. I recall many of the cards wishing us Happy Holidays and Happy Hanukkah. This was from the late 1940’s through the 1960s.
While I attended a Catholic parochial elementary school, I also recall saying “Happy Hanukkah” and playing with dreidels (or similar toys). A dreidel is a four-sided top bearing Hebrew letters. I ate some Jewish foods (year-round) and drank sweet kosher wine, but I did not learn the full meanings and traditions until years later.
When my children were growing up, they (and we) had Jewish family friends. During the holiday season one Jewish friend went to our children’s public schools and explained the Hanukkah festival. During the eight-day festival, my children spent many evenings at their friend’s home learning about Jewish traditions, eating the special foods, and participating in lighting the nine light menorahs (Chanukiah).
While Hanukkah is a minor Jewish religious holiday, for me it is full of happy (and a few sad) memories, and I ponder the possibilities. One more time, Happy Everything, Everyone.
Look both ways to learn the stories our friends and neighbors have to share.
Mind the gaps because no two are exactly alike.
He didn’t marvel at that momentous moment. After many years, she had become sanctimonious.
It wasn’t the stupendous vision he hoped for. It was horrendous, not tremendous,
seeing her now as portentous.
Look both ways but the past was then, this is now.
Find and mind the gaps for hidden reasons for change.
Liquor goes down easy
and way, way too easy
and too often takes folks
down ruin’s road.
So why do I?
Since it makes me so queasy.
And nobody loves a drunk
not even another drunk,
okay, maybe sometimes, maybe,
but not after they grow up
or get sober
and we or they make
such an unforgivable mess
and land in such an unrecoverable funk.
It’s best to drink beer—
after eating a full meal,
with dessert and coffee
late at night,
one beer or two might be all right
for you if you’re not
Irish or German,
but then—then what?
It’s gastronomically unclear.
Wine, it seems, might be finely biblical,
if it’s tannins
don’t give you headaches,
hives, or hallucinations and
if it’s warm, cheap, and red,
because white wine
tastes like fermented kerosene,
smells it too,
so we pretend it’s good.
My dearly departed friend,
Jack, held to the standard
that all Dutch courage
must be drinkable.
Good ideas are the worst
when you’re in your cups,
those delusional wonders,
which thankfully rarely occur
except in the tank
or the boot of the hearse.
Look both ways to find the source of the lie.
Mind the growing gaps as they turn memories eternally black.
A little Tom T with his famous beer song, may he rest in peace.
Last night, as I sat with my extended family, a mixture of baby boomers, Gen X’s, and Millennials, we spoke of haunting experiences: fear intentionally endured for fun. Few of us said we wanted to repeat those ‘fun’ occasions. They were things that fell into the it seemed like a good idea at the time category, but now we wished we hadn’t risked them.
We have learned that Halloween can be fun and scary without doing long term psychological damage. What adrenalin rush is worth the walk into nightmarish darkness? I recall the fun: the costumes, the parties, the doors to knock on, the treats, the stories, and the songs we made up and sang. We were having fun. But when scared, boy did we run!
I recall winning a Halloween party costume contest as an adult. I was not in the best costume. Was I given an honor for courage? Was humor involved? Did my green legs catch the judges’ eyes? No one fears a giant tomato.
What I like about Halloween is that I owe no one anything for it. It has a strange history and a life of its own with unique childish traditions. It is when it is, on the last day of October, followed immediately by November. Halloween has as many bizarre religious undertones as it does silly religious rejections.
With nods to the goths and the goolies, to the vampires and fried eggs, to the ubiquitous hobos and fun folks in clever, challenging outfits, I like Halloween and I know I’m in good, scary, company.
Look both ways on those dark October nights.
Mind the gaps where memories of youth dance and sing because it is time for all of that.
Since the American government still had an active conscription/draft system, I enlisted during my senior year in high school (1964). I eventually went to college after four years in the U.S. Air Force, which would later result in my first of three closely related “career” choices.
In May of ’66, I married Yolonda. More than half of our first two years together were spent as 20/21/22-year-olds living and working in Ankara, Turkey. I was not sent to Viet Nam. Happy Honeymoon.
I started college in September of 1968, as one of what would become known as Vietnam Era Veterans. I registered as a sophomore transfer from the University of Maryland, Overseas Division.
The Viet Nam War was raging and nearing its high-point years. LBJ was about finished. The Tet Offensive had hardened much more of U.S. public opinion against the war. While not ambivalent, I disagreed with both sides of the argument at that time. I was confused, as were many Americans. I had two short term goals: graduate and get a job. Yolonda was the Brazos County Attorney’s Secretary at the time. Every cop in the county knew her.
We lived in “on campus” student housing. Our “home” was a small one bedroom, one bath, unairconditioned apartment in southeast, central Texas. We eventually bought and installed a window a/c unit.
The campus library was my retreat, a place to read, study, and to people-watch. At the time, everyone exiting the building was forced to have their possessions searched to prevent theft.
One evening, Yolonda waited for me at that library while I was part of a psych department research study. I found her waiting in our car. She asked me if I would know if my penis was exposed out of my pants. She had been cock-flashed by a student employee. The perv got busted, and we’ve been sharing the experience for fifty-plus years. They are everywhere.
I’m writing this while sitting comfortably, sipping coffee, and eating a pastry from my public library’s coffee bar. These days book checkout is on the honor system, and nobody is searched.
I still like libraries. I am not a prodigious reader, although I read every day. Libraries are strangely comforting to me even though everyone has access to the facility, library card or not. Libraries are what they are and do what they do. The same is true of people.
My first library from childhood was in an old, mid-19th century, church building and still is. I also like old church architecture. Maybe there is a reason for my library/church juxtaposition of interest. I recall no pervs in the stacks from back then, but if those books could talk… (wait, we have talking books nowadays.)
It seems like it began for this boomer with the assassination of JFK. My first ten years after high school, the sixties, and early seventies, were a coming-of-age time for me and a tumultuous period in American History.
More than fifty years later, I still like to sit in libraries and write, read, search for books, people watch, and sip coffee. I may ponder what others say or claim. I think about how differently we all see the world and each other.
But at this point in my life, I really don’t give a shite what anyone thinks of me, except for Yolonda and our three middle-aged kids; less so, a few teeny-bopper or early 20s grandkids.
So far, I think I pass muster. Sort of.
Look both ways for what is right. Arguing does little good.
Mind the gaps lest they become crevasses of civil division.
Find your tribe and take a side. Keep trying to understand.
Support public libraries, not book bans or burns.